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Racism is a Virus

Documentary, 2022

2021 Canada-Italy Innovation Award

Artists: Zheng Ningyuan, Jin Fansong

The documentary titled “Racism is the Virus”—which received the 2021 Canada-Italy Innovation Award and was part of a larger project titled “Vulnerability and Care During Covid-19-Induced Anti-Asian Racism and Violence in Italy and Canada” (VulCa2021)—was carried out by a team of interdisciplinary scholars, students and professionals across Canada and Italy under the coordination of prof. Valentina Pedone (University of Florence) and prof. Gaoheng Zhang (University of British Columbia). A select team of students from both universities were trained by Italy-based Chinese artist and videographer, Ningyuan Zheng, to produce the documentary. Students included Danilo Angulo Molina, Xia Sushanghua, Zhang Yiming, Steven Lu, and Melissa Salvini. The production was made by the Bologna-based non-profit association WUXU, which Zheng was part of.

A main goal of this project was to humanize the issue of racism by giving voice to victims of Sinophobia and anti-Asian attacks from Canada, Italy, Denmark, and the United States. It provided them with a space to share both their experiences of coping with trauma and their insights into healing and resilience. From physical and psychological aggressions to microaggressions, the documentary highlights aspects of racism that may be overlooked when we look at the problem at a macro level. Interviewees also spoke about what individuals could do to counter anti-Asian hate at this moment, digitally and physically speaking, and how victims could be supported.

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